Some people suffer from Aviophobia—the fear of flying. I am afflicted with Scrappiophobia—the fear of scrapbooking. OK, so I made up that word. That doesn’t make it any less legitimate.
The symptoms of Scrappiophobia are very similar to Aviophobia and should be taken seriously. According to the medical journals, the fear of flying can cause a person to suffer panic attacks, nausea and even “anticipatory vomiting.” While I have never quite advanced to that ultimate stomach-lurching level (yet), I can certainly report instant queasiness whenever some well-meaning person asks me if I have started working on my son’s Senior Year Scrapbook. When I answer feebly to the negative, I am engulfed by a gripping fear that I will be the only lousy mother on the planet who will not produce a multiple-page-4-color-glossy-high-resolution-three-dimensional-award-winning-portfolio to appropriately highlight and celebrate each and every milestone of her only son’s life. It’s a paralyzing thought. And not at all beneficial to the gray hair count on my head.
The experts who help people overcome the fear of flying say I must first ask myself the question “What are the aspects of flying/scrapbooking that frighten me?” That’s easy. I am an antsy uncreative person who can’t sit still for any length of time, has no manual dexterity and can barely locate a working scissors in the household, much less own the kind that makes fancy designs when you cut. Being forced to sit at a table for hours amid stacks of tiny cutouts and boxes of old photographs sends my heart into palpitations. In fact, any government agents seeking top secret information from me could just plunk a glue stick and some 12×12 sheets of paper in front of me and I would immediately give up the goods.
Another suggestion to allay my fears, the experts say, is to use a process called “desensitization,” where I would be slowly exposed to the objects of my anxiety and have time to adjust. I’ve tried that too. Once, I screwed up enough courage and slowly pushed my shopping cart down the aisle of scrapbooking paraphernalia at the nearby mega-hobby store, and actually emerged with a package of stickers without hyperventilating. And I have even been known to show up and lend a hand at a friend’s house at crunch time for their kid’s graduation scrapbook, but that was only because someone told me exactly what to do and there was a promise of chocolate for the volunteers.
If all else fails, say the pros, what I really need to do is toughen up, take a day off of work, gather my photos and newspaper clippings…and drop it all off with a blank check to someone who has a talent for this kind of thing. That should completely calm my fears for at least another 12 months, when it will be time to deal with my daughter’s Senior Year Scrapbook.
It’s enough to make me want to run with scissors. If I could just find a pair.